Renaissance Fine Arts: Pikesville gallery grows into a mini-museum

December 18, 2008|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,ed.gunts@baltsun.com

If you want to see paintings by Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, you don't have to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art.

You can view works by those artists and many others at the new home of Renaissance Fine Arts in Pikesville.

A "Masters" section is one of the many features of the gallery, which opened this fall at 1848 Reisterstown Road. There are also areas with contemporary art, sculpture, vintage posters and custom framing, and a separate boutique featuring jewel-encrusted frames and other art objects by Jay Strongwater.

The gallery is the third location in Pikesville for owner Joanie Young, who launched the business in her home in 1983 and opened her first retail space in 1986.

Located next to Radcliffe Jewelers, the Reisterstown Road gallery is the flagship for a company that also has operations in Philadelphia and Bethesda.

Young said she moved the business because she needed more space and wanted to present work in a setting more reminiscent of an art museum.

Designed by Levin/Brown & Associates, the new gallery is twice as large as the previous location in the Festival at Woodholme. Formerly occupied by Octavia, an upscale clothing store, the interior has high ceilings, white walls, wood floors and a variety of display areas.

"This space will allow us to function much better," Young said. "It's our dream of what [a gallery] should be. Our hope is that it will have more of a museum feeling, without feeling intimidating."

Artists range from old masters to more contemporary artists such as Dale Chihuly and Lorenzo Quinn, the son of actor Anthony Quinn.

The boutique featuring the Jay Strongwater collection is called Regalo, which means "gift" in Italian. Strongwater is known for designing picture frames that are works of art in themselves. Many have jewels on the front and the back. Regalo also features vases, jewelry, Christmas ornaments and collectibles. Pikesville has one of only two Jay Strongwater boutiques in the United States; the other is in Las Vegas. Another recently opened in Dubai.

Unlike many galleries that represent artists and sell their work on commission, Renaissance owns the work it sells. It doesn't mount monthly shows devoted to one or two artists, and its inventory is always changing. Clients for Renaissance's Pikesville location come from many places around the region, including Frederick, Columbia and York, Pa. Young said she spends much of her time looking for works that she believes will suit them.

"The hardest part is finding the work, not selling it," she said. "It's easier to place than to find."

After more than 20 years as an art dealer, Young said, she has seen many ups and downs in the market and tries to stay away from trends.

"I've never really paid attention to what everyone else was doing," she said. "I've paid attention to what I was doing. That's what's helped me survive."

IF YOU GO

Renaissance Fine Arts and Regalo in Pikesville are open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. After Dec. 25, the Monday-through-Saturday hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The gallery is at 1848 Reisterstown Road. Call 410-484-8900.

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